The Visual Web

Group Proposal: Ashleigh, Melanie, Nicola, Paul and Anna

What is our feature about?

Focus: How is online image sharing shaping how we construct ourselves, and how others perceive us?

  • We'll be examining how, internally, the images we post online contribute to our sense of self, and
  • How, externally, they impact how we are viewed by others

The issue: The web is becoming increasingly visual. New online platforms are being set up to facilitate image sharing (e.g. Pinterest), and existing social networking platforms (e.g. Facebook) are tailoring their layout to suit a more visual user-group.

Existing research: There are several academic papers and publications that deal with the ways that social media shape an individual's identity and sense of self. However, few of these focus on the image, and most are targeted at an academic audience. We want to introduce the issue to ordinary citizens.

Our approach: to combine investigative research with personal experience, through extensive interviews as well as personal journeys into the world of image sharing.

Content Development

Self construction: To address this aspect of our feature, we will interview academics and the sociology and cultural studies departments. We will also explore the issue through personal "visual media journeys" into particular visual media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, iPhoto, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Perception by others: For this section, we will have several investigative articles on the implications of image sharing. Our current ideas include:

  • How widely seen pictures of kids on the net (courtesy of prominent mummy bloggers) will affect the kids in the future, and how others perceive them
  • How photos uploaded to Facebook can have a negative impact if seen by the wrong person
  • How images that go viral (e.g. memes) impact the people featured in them.

Use of online medium: We want to be creative, innovative, and play with the internal self vs. external perception juxtaposition. Current thoughts include:

  • Opening page with clickable doors/windows looking inside/outside which link to either self-construction or external perception content
  • High level of visual content
  • Interactive elements such as comments and encouraging users to submit photos to particular gallery series.